Several of Indonesia's largest labor unions have announced their plans for May Day, with their intention to stage a rally involving at least 100,000 of their members throughout Jakarta, according to a national meeting of labor unions in South Jakarta on Thursday.
Chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), Said Iqbal, said the rally would begin at around 9 a.m. at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, moving to the Bung Karno sports complex, where it would end at around 1 p.m. The rally will be wound up with a reading of a manifesto outlining the demands of Indonesian workers.
"We will read the Indonesian Workers’ Manifesto at the Bung Karno Stadium. Notice how it's not called the Indonesian Union Workers’ Manifesto, as the document will represent the wishes of all Indonesian workers, not just unionized ones," he said.
Said outlined five demands to the Indonesian government, which include guaranteeing pensions and social security, and he called on the government to revise its low wage policies and condemned outsourcing.
"Make outsourcing illegal. Cut off all outsourcing licenses, so we can send outsourcers to jail," he said.
Said added that there should be no cuts in government subsidies for things like education and fuel.
"We want the government to get rid of any ideas of restricting fuel or raising fuel prices. Instead, the government's solution should be for energy diversification," he said.
Labor representatives said they only wanted the government to take their demands seriously, and denied accusations that they were looking for trouble.
"We have no intention of destabilizing the government or of taking down the President and the Vice President. However, we want to warn the President that if he doesn't pay attention to our demands, we will grow larger," said the chairman of the Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers’ Union (KSPSI), Andi Ghani Nena Wea.
“If there is one thing that destabilizes the economy, it is government policy.
"There are no special political interests driving us. There are no political party “colors”. The only colors we have are red and white," Andi added, referring to the national flag.
In addition to large worker confederations like the KSPI and the KSPSI, there were also smaller labor federations in attendance, such as the Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers’ Union (FPSMI) and the Indonesian Workers’ Organization (OPSI), which represent a combined total of 170 million workers.
Workers’ representatives said they planned to use at least 3,300 buses to send the protesters to Jakarta, adding that they had already coordinated with police forces to help facilitate traffic during the May Day rally.
They added that similar actions would also be held in Surabaya, Bandung, Batam, Medan, and Semarang.
Jakarta Police operations chief, Sr. Comr. Agung Budi Maryanto, had earlier said that the Jakarta Police would deploy more than 16,000 officers to secure the city on May Day, adding that the police would coordinate with the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the Jakarta Public Order Agency to ensure security. (png/din)